Mary Kalocz and her brother were born and raised by a single mother in Canada. From a very young age, she was encouraged to become independent and to follow her excitement. She is an artist and painter. She has also participated in a wide variety of team sports when she was younger. She was not limited to gender-specific sports and was often the only female participating in sports that were traditionally considered to be a male team sport.

As Mary engaged in life, she recognized the value of the support and encouragement she had growing up. She also recognized the knowledge and wisdom gained by athletes as they participate in team sports. The lessons learned are fundamental to participate in life such as, communication skills, problem-solving and what it is to be a team player. These are values she would like to share with her children.

Mary is a very busy mom. Some of the things she has enjoyed participating in are marathons, pace-runs, volunteering, reading, walks with the family, and travels. She loves to learn about different cultures and most of all, she loves to paint.

What is your hobby?

My favorite hobby is painting. I also like to go for walks with the family. I enjoy playing sports. 

How did you get started? What inspired you?

I got into playing sports and painting at a very young age. Unlike most parents who would not allow children to paint on walls, my mother was very supportive. She discovered soap paint, so she allowed me to paint on the walls. She was able to wipe it right off the walls. She allowed me to be very creative at a very young age. I believe that is where I gained a love of painting. In playing sports, she did not discourage me from playing whatever I wanted. She did not tell me I had to go to ballet rather than play hockey. She allowed me to bridge the gap on what most people saw as gender “norms.” Often times I was the only girl on the team sports I chose. Also, growing up with an older brother, I wanted to be like him. My mother and brother both encouraged me to do whatever sport that excited me.

Tell us what you love about it.

What I love about painting is that it is boundless. It is the freedom to express yourself in whatever way you feel. It is like coloring outside the lines and being okay with it. It is very similar to the way it is with sports. It allows you to put all of your energy and focus and physically become it. It also trains the way you think with regard to social interactions. You learn what it is to be a team player. It teaches you how to work with others in problem-solving. Those are fundamental communication skills for life. It teaches you how to succeed in life. 

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I no longer attend the events that I use too. When I belonged to sports teams, I used to attend many events, tournaments, and banquets. I participated in regular practices for each sport. With regard to painting, it is a very personal experience. I paint in my free time. The only time there were group events were when I was in school. 

Have you had to invest in equipment? If so, please share.

The equipment that I have for painting is an easel, paint brushes, canvases, pencils, charcoal, pastels, and paper. It is anything related to drawing or painting. The equipment that I invested in for sports was all purchased depending on the sport that I was focusing on at the time. I had everything from a pair of cleats to hockey equipment, or a helmet and skates, tennis balls and tennis racket, everything was based upon the focused sport of the season.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

The place that I purchased all of my art supplies was called Lumas and Tules. They may have changed the name or changed hands. I purchased my hockey equipment at Just Hockey. The tennis racket was purchased form the Racket Club and my cleats were purchased at Sport Check.

 Are there any good books for beginners?

I’d like to say that I remember every book or author I have read for painting or for sports. There are many good books available that can be purchased when you are just starting out. There are painting-by-the-numbers books. There are also many books when you are learning how to draw depending on what style you’re interested in learning. The same thing applies when you are focusing on a particular sport. There are many books available at the library that focus on the specific sport. 

How has this changed your life?

Both painting and my participation in such a variety of sports has truly enriched my life. They have clearly provided me with different perspectives as to how I view life. Having children of my own now, I recognize how well I was supported. I watch my children and enjoy their excitement in the things that they are interested in. Playdo in the carpet means nothing if they are enjoying it. I will support them the same way I was supported. It has given me strength that I have now as an adult and a parent to be able to communicate, to be social, and to be a team player. All of those qualities are very important in life. 

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell anyone just getting started with either painting or in any sport to never get discouraged. Everyone starts at the bottom and we work our way up with practice. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. What you put into it is what you will get out of it. If you found what you want to do, just focus and keep at it and you will get better. 

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I really enjoy reading and listening to music. I like to travel, but when I can’t travel I read about different cultures, it really enriches you. Being diverse with hobbies is a great way to continue to enhance your life.